Last edited 23 Oct 2020

Change control procedure for building design and construction

Changes to a project may have impacts on time, cost or quality. Broadly, the later in the development of the project that changes occur, the greater those impacts are likely to be.

At certain stages in the design process, a complete package of information will be provided for the client to approve. Once this approval has been given, a change control procedure may be introduced to ensure that the approved information is not changed without the express permission of the client.

The CIOB 'Code of practice for project management' (4th edition), defines change control as 'a process that ensures potential changes to the deliverables of a project or the sequence of work in a project, are recorded, evaluated, authorised and managed.'

Examples of stages where change control procedures might be introduced include:

It is important that the need for changes is minimised. This can be done by:

It is common for the cost consultant to report on the estimated cost of changes and for the client to prioritise which changes are acceptable. The client may decide to fund additional costs from a design contingency. A change control procedure should clearly define the process by which changes are requested and approved and who is responsible for those processes, including:

There may then be:

The client may have to consider a number of requests for changes and may therefore need the appropriate information to be able to prioritise them relative to one another.

Change control procedures should be formally set out in a project quality plan to ensure that changes to controlled aspects of the project are referred for review to the right person at the right time and so that changes are properly documented and reflected in all project information.

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